This NFL handicapper expects the Packers, who fought to get the homefield advantage for this game, to find a way to cover the point spread in a high-scoring game against the Cowboys.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers: Odds Overview and Weather
(Packers -6, 53, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook), Sunday 18:05 (FOX, 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT):
Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys (12-4 SU, 10-6 ATS) head north to Lambeau Field on Sunday afternoon to face Aaron Rodgers and the host Green Bay Packers (12-4 SU, 9-6-1 ATS) in this NFC Divisional meeting between the No. 2 and 3 seeds and a game which should receive extremely high TV ratings and be very heavily bet.
Almost all sports books and offshore casinos currently (Tuesday morning) have the Packers lined as 6-point favorites—5Dimes is offering Green Bay at -7 +120 with the Cowboys at +7 -140, showing a big reluctance to get off that key number of 7—with the Total Points set at 52½ (Pinnacle, 5Dimes). The Money Line (Winner) NFL odds see the Packers as -245 favorites with the Cowboys priced at +218 (Pinnacle). The Packers Team Total Points has been set at 29½ (Ladbrokes) with the Cowboys Total Team Points at 23 (Stan James).
Some random prop wagers: Highest Scoring Half: First Half -110, Second Half -110, Draw +1600 (Ladbrokes); First Half: Packers -3½ (Paddy Power) and, First Half Total: 26 (O/U -120, Paddy Power). And, updated odds to win Super Bowl XLIX for these two participants: Packers (5/1) and Cowboys (9/1, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook).
The weather forecast for Green Bay from The Weather Channel five days out (Tuesday) from Sunday calls for a High of 17° and Sunny conditions with a few passing Clouds and Winds W at 5 to 10 mph, So, for at least the time being, it looks like no snow in Green Bay for this one which is a good thing for the boys from the Lone Star State who prefer to keep their phalanges at room temperature.
The Dallas Cowboys (8-0 SU Road, 7-1 ATS Road) may be the closest team which can crack the NFL’s Fab Four, but for now, there still seems to be a decent-sized chasm of perception between the Cowboys and these Packers and the AFC’s defending champs, the Denver Broncos. And this game will either fill that moat between the Cowboys and the Fab Four‘s castle with concrete or make it even bigger and deeper, depending on the result. Cowboys QB Tony Romo (304 completions, 3,705 yards, 34 TDs; 34-29-1 ATS Road) is having one of the best years of his career and with RB DeMarco Murray (392 rushes, 1,845 yards, 13 TDs, 4.7 ypc) leading the NFL’s #2 Rushing attack (147.1 ypg) and WR Dez Bryant (88 receptions, 1,320 yards, 16 TDs, 15.0 ypc) emerging as one of the top receivers in the league, Dallas has offensive weapons like it hasn’t had in quite awhile. And with the OL now what it is and players like veteran TE Jason Witten (64 receptions, 703 yards, 5 TDs, 11.0 ypc) and WRs Terrance Williams (37 receptions, 621 yards, 8 TDs, 2 TDs vs Lions last week) and Cole Beasley, it’s impossible to concentrate on stopping just one guy on this offense.
Defensively, Dallas (5-0 SU L5) ranks #8 against the Rush, allowing an average of 103.1 ppg but the Cowboys are a woeful #26 against the Pass (251.9), so expect the Packers to try to exploit that weakness. And Over players have to like the idea of a team (Dallas, 9-6 Over) with a bunch of skill position players like Murray (-150 Anytime TD Scorer, bet365), Bryant (-133), Witten (+150), Williams (+180) and Romo (+1100) and a crappy pass defense going in and playing another Over-prone team (Green Bay, 11-5 Over) who has its own terrific QB who likes to pass and their share of talented skill position players. That First Half Total of 26 (Paddy Power) may be worth a look here with so much energy in Lambeau and the host Packers waiting and rested for these Cowboys who caught somewhat of a break from the officials in last weekend’s Wild Card round game against the Lions to help them get here. And Dallas should be able to put up a couple of scores in the first 30 minutes of play in America’s Dairyland.
Cowboys LB Rolando McClain (head) and T Doug Free (ankle) are both listed as Questionable for Sunday’s game at Lambeau Field so head coach Jason Garrett (35-36-1 ATS) and his team head into this one fairly healthy.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers (6-1-1 ATS Home) and QB Aaron Rodgers (34-17-3 ATS Home) worked hard for the NFC‘s No. 2 seed and here is where it should pay off for them, facing a team from a warm-weather climate whose home has a 3-mile wide TV screen in it and a retractable roof. With Rodgers (341 completions, 4,381 yards, 38 TDs), Green Bay has a legitimate chance to make a run at Super Bowl XLIX, although unlike their opponents here the Cowboys, this is a team that is dominant at home and a little sketchy on the road. The Packers (#8 passing, 266.3 ypg) possibly have developed the best receiving duo in the NFL with WRs Jordy Nelson (98 receptions, 1,519 yards, 13 TDs, 15.5 ypg) and Randall Cobb (91 receptions, 1,287 yards, 12 TDs, 14.1 ypc) both topping the 1,000-yard mark. Rodgers also likes throwing the pigskin to TEs Andrew Quarless (29 receptions, 323 yards, 3 TDs) and Richard Rodgers (20 receptions, 225 yards, 2 TDs), Fresno State rookie WR Davante Adams (38 receptions, 446 yards, 3 TDs) as well as all of his running backs.
Green Bay (11-2 SU L13) is the #11 Rushing (119.8 ypg) team in the league with Eddie Lacy (246 rushes, 1,139 yards, 9 TDs) the go-to guy and in the midst of a breakout season with James Starks (85 rushes, 333 yards, 2 TDs) and crowd favorite John Kuhn both doing what they always do best for ninth-year head coach Mike McCarthy (89-62-4 ATS)...all the little things. With Rodgers (+300, Anytime TD Scorer, bet365), Nelson (-150), Cobb (-142), Lacy (-150), Quarless (+180), Adams (+180), Starks (+180) and Kuhn (+375), the Packers have a number of dependable guys who can score TDs and this team definitely prefers the TD over the FG. How many kickers have you seen do the Lambeau Leap?
Green Bay (5-0 SU L5 Home) ranks in the middle or the bottom half of the NFL defensively in average Points Allowed (21.8 ppg, #13); Total Yards (346.3 ypg, #15); Passing Yards (226.4 ypg, #10); and, Rushing Yards (119.9 ypg, #23), and, it’s the last one that probably gives hope to Garrett and Cowboys fans with Murray and the Dallas OL having such an impressive season so far. But Green Bay leads the NFL averaging +0.9 TO a game and will probably get the little breaks that end up mattering at home.
The Packers injury list—CB Davon House (shoulder) is listed as Questionable—provides a chuckle with QB Aaron Rodgers (calf) dubbed Probable for this, the biggest game of the year—a rematch of the historic 1967 Ice Bowl (NFL Championship Game) here in Green Bay where the Packers and Bart Starr used a late QB sneak to top these visiting Cowboys and earn a trip to Super Bowl II to face the winner of the then, American Football League (the Oakland Raiders). Aaron Rodgers being listed as “Probable” for Sunday is like Sunday being listed as Probable for Sunday.
Best Betting Approaches and Trends
With the Cowboys suspect Pass Defense (#26) and the Packers suspect Rush Defense (#23), one can’t help but think this will turn into a shootout at High Noon in Cheeseville with gunslingers Rodgers and Romo both shooting it out for the opportunity to possibly get to go play the Super Bowl champion Seahawks in Seattle in the NFC Championship game next weekend. Hey, the holidays are over, bruh. Football means bruises. And the team’s O/U records and many of the trends support the Over here including: the Over is 5-0 L5 Cowboys Road games; the Over is 5-2 L7 Dallas games at Green Bay; the Over is 7-1 L8 at Green Bay; the Over is 14-6 L20 Packers games; and, the kicker: The Over is 13-3 L16 in this series. Sold. And although the current 53 (SuperBook) seems high, the inability to stop the opponents in the red zone could be a big problem for both here, no matter what kind of weather and temperatures exist.
The Packers have actually lost 2 of their L3 playoff games at home but Green Bay is 4-1 SU and ATS the L5 against Dallas. The Packers are also 4-2 SU L6 against the Cowboys but Dallas is 11-5 over the L16 so this series has had its share of mini-dominance between the two through the years.
All in all, when forming your NFL pick here, expect the extra week’s rest, Nelson and Cobb, the raucous crowd and homefield advantage and the cold weather to all add up to be enough to mess up Dallas’s dream season. The confidence gained from a couple of first half TD drives combined with the comfort of playing at home in front of an expecting Green Bay crowd—in potentially the last game of the season for all involved—should be the differences between one team on the upswing in the NFL and another team still sure it can get to and win another Super Bowl. This one should be really fun.
Prediction: Packers 34 Cowboys 27
Free NFL Picks: First Half Over 26 (Paddy Power), Over 52½, Packers Money Line -245 (Pinnacle)